4 Filipino firms, Chinese group ‘interested’ in running Cebu City Medical Center

File photo
File photo

AT LEAST four Filipino private companies and a group of Chinese businessmen have pledged nearly P1 billion in funds to complete the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center’s eighth to 1Oth floors, and they also offered to run the hospital, a city official said.

“The money is there. Ready na man na siya (It is ready),” said Jerone Castillo, special assistant to Mayor Michael Rama on special projects.

Castillo told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 that the money pledged by the private entities is enough to complete the construction of the new CCMC.

The original CCMC building had been damaged during the 2013 earthquake and later demolished.

Aside from the Chinese group, the local private companies that pledged funds for the completion of CCMC’s last three upper floors are SM Group, Ayala Group, Robinsons Group and Filinvest Group.

However, Castillo said they could not yet continue the construction activities because of “unresolved issues” with the first two contractors.

He said he had already told the engineering department to “give one comprehensive report so that the Office of the Mayor through the City Attorney and the City Administrator can sit down once and for all, and remove all these ‘roadblocks.’”

“So that all the money [will be] coming in, all the engineering people will prepare, [and] we can prosecute the project with expediency as committed to the public,” he said.

In Phases 1 and 2, C.E. Padilla Construction Inc. served as the contractor. C.B. Garay Philwide Builders worked on Phase 3.

Castillo said the issue with the Phase 4 contractor, M.E. Sicat Construction Inc., had already been resolved.

To recall, Rama announced in a press conference on Nov. 9, 2022, that he will terminate the contract of M.E. Sicat, which had been working on the seventh to 10th floors of CCMC as he could no longer bear the delay in the completion of the public hospital.

On Nov. 16, 2022, lawyer Collin Rosell, executive secretary of Mayor Rama, said Rama and engineer Michael Allan Sicat of M.E. Sicat Construction Inc. had already agreed to a mutual cessation of the P908 million contract of Phase 4 of the CCMC project. The mayor formally terminated the contract last January.

Engineer Ruel Tahum of the City Department of Engineering and Public Works said the “unresolved issues” are the unpaid variation orders for C.E. Padilla and C.B. Garay. In a construction project, a variation order refers to any changes to the scope of work, planning and specification or contract documents.

A total of P60 million has yet to be paid to the two contractors—P40 million for C.E. Padilla and P20 million for C.B. Garay. The two contractors completed the first three floors before they became operational in 2021.

Castillo said the issues “with the other contractors must be dealt” with, or else the hospital will not be completed according to the mayor’s desired timeline.

During the city’s 86th Charter Day last Feb. 24, Rama said he wanted the CCMC to be fully operational by November 2023. (PAC / TPT, KAL)


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